Why can't we see Krishna?

Question: 
Why can't we see Krishna?


Our Answer:

We're seeing Krishna at every moment. We're just not aware of it:

Science of Self Realization, 7:

"Why can't you see God at every moment? Krishna says, raso 'ham apsu kaunteya: [Bhagavad-gita 7.8] "I am the taste of water." Everyone drinks water, and the taste is there—so if we think of this taste as God, we begin the process of God realization. Krishna also says, prabhasmi shashi-suryayoh: "I am the sunshine, and I am the moonshine." We all see the sunshine and moonshine every day, and if we think of how it is that the sun and moon are emanating light, we will ultimately reach God."

There's nowhere Krishna is not, so it's really amazing that we can't see Him. At the same time, we can't see very much with our material eyes, so we shouldn't be surprised that we can't see Krishna—the source of all that exists—personally. Even with sufficient light, we can only see what's within the visible color spectrum. Without light, we can't even see our hand in front of our face.

Easy Journey to Other Planets, 2:

"We may be very proud of our eyes, but we cannot even see our next-door neighbor. People challenge, "Can you show me God?" But what can they see? What is the value of their eyes? God is not cheap. We cannot see anything, not to speak of God, without sunshine. Without sunlight we are blind."

It's not even easy to see most powerful, famous and opulent people on this tiny planet; they try to keep some privacy. Without powerful social connections, it's practically impossible. Krishna is the most powerful, most famous, most opulent person there is. He wants to have relationships with everyone, but very few are even interested to know about Him. We don't seek Him out, so why should we be able to see Him easily?

Path of Perfection, 9:

"We should not think, "I want to see God. O God, please come and stand before me. Be like my servant." But since God is no one's servant, we have to oblige Him by our love and service. We all know how difficult it is to see the king or president of a country. It is practically impossible for an ordinary man to get an interview with such an important person, to say nothing of having this important person come and stand before him. Yet people are demanding that the Supreme Personality of Godhead come and stand before them."

There's a lot we can't see. We can't see the mind, emotions, thoughts, ambitions, or intelligence. We can only see their symptoms. Same with the soul within the body, without which the insignificant material body has no value. We see its symptoms as life—consciousness. And we're surrounded by symptoms of the existence of God—innumerable life forms, elements, forces of nature, and space. Should we be able to see the source of all spirit and matter, the Supreme Soul, very easily?

The real reason we can't see Krishna is that we haven't yet developed sufficient interest in seeing Him. His pure devotees see Him everywhere—through bhakti-vilochanena, the eyes of love:

Brahma-samhita, 5.38:

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Shyamasundara, Krishna Himself with inconceivable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love."

Even great sages who try to meditate on Krishna's form within their hearts for many years can't attain that divine vision without developing pure love for Him.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.6.21:

"O Narada [the Lord spoke], I regret that during this lifetime you will not be able to see Me anymore. Those who are incomplete in service and who are not completely free from all material taints can hardly see Me."

Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that He doesn't reveal Himself to everyone. Most people in this material world have no interest in God. They don't want to see him, so for them Krishna is invisible. Only those who surrender to Him in love can expect to see Him in person, and then only by His good wishes.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 11.52, Purport:

"As we have several times discussed, Krishna is covered by His yoga-maya potency. He is not to be seen or revealed to anyone and everyone. Only by one to whom He reveals Himself can He be seen. This is confirmed in Vedic literature; for one who is a surrendered soul, the Absolute Truth can actually be understood. The transcendentalist, by continuous Krishna consciousness and by devotional service to Krishna, can have his spiritual eyes opened and can see Krishna by revelation."

Even the greatest brains in this world have no access to Krishna unless they approach Him in a humble mood of selfless service.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, 9.13.11, Purport:

"Krishna and His name, fame, qualities and paraphernalia cannot be materially understood. Unless one is advanced in spiritual life (sevonmukhe hi jihvadau), one cannot see Krishna. Therefore the ability to see Krishna depends on Krishna's mercy."

When we see a painting of Krishna, we're seeing Krishna. When we see Krishna's Deity form, we're seeing Krishna. When we hear His name, such as the Hare Krishna mantra, Krishna is there. We may think Krishna is different from His picture or the sound of His name, but He's not. He is all spiritual and absolute, which means there is no difference between Him and His image or His names.

Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, 9:

"Because you have material eyes, you cannot see the spiritual form. Therefore He kindly appears to be in a material body so that you can see. However, because He has kindly made Himself just fit for your seeing, that does not mean He has a material body. Suppose the President of the United States kindly comes to your house. That does not mean that his position and your position are the same. It is his kindness. Out of love, he may come to your house, but that does not mean he is on the same level as you. Similarly, because we cannot see Krishna with our present eyes, Krishna therefore appears before us as a painting, as made of stone, as made of wood. And Krishna is not different from these paintings and wood because everything is Krishna."

In conclusion,

  • We're always seeing Krishna but we don't realize it.
  • Our material vision is terribly limited, and Krishna is all spiritual.
  • If we don't want to see Him we won't.
  • He's not obliged to come before us.
  • Only by devotion can He be known or seen.

Ultimately, if we want to see Krishna, it's up to us to behave in such a way that He will want to see us.

Krishna Consciousness, the Topmost Yoga System, 7:

"In the Upanishads it is stated: "To one who has firm faith in God, and similar faith in God's representative, all the import of Vedic language will be revealed." We must have the qualification of being a devotee. Become dear to God. My spiritual master used to say, "Don't try to see God. Act in such a way that God will see you." We have to qualify ourselves. By your qualification God Himself will come and see you."